How does a company choose the right partner?
Christian Ménard explains that entrepreneurs have two options for partners in international development: either a financial partner or an industry partner.
A financial partner can:
share the financial risk involved with development. This was exactly the case with Thierry Gillier, founder of Zadig & Voltaire, when he
sold a 30% equity stake of the company to TA Associates, a prestigious American investment fund. The goal of this partnership is to pursue Zadig & Voltaire's international development in Europe, the United States and Asia, by building on the attractiveness of the brand as well as the expertise provided by TA Associates.
structure the company by linking it to a partner, who will play the role of "sparring partner".
On the other hand, an industry partner who already enjoys a certain level of maturity offers
strong foundation in a market. This is exactly what the founders of SMCP (Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot) were looking to do, as they had already sold a 70% equity stake to the investment fund KKR in 2013, in order to boost development. (As a result, turnover doubled over the last three years). Today, the Group plans to continue its international growth by relying on Shandong Ruyi Group and their expertise and in-depth knowledge of the Asian market. The Group signed an
exclusivity agreement with KKR to become a majority shareholder in SMCP.
A focus on preserving the company
When choosing a partner, whether financial or industry, it is extremely important to ensure that the interests of both parties are well-matched. If foreign investors are attracted by the fantasy of French brands, it is even more important to protect the brand by choosing the right investors: "those who respect the company and its structure", explains Christophe Marchand, whose role within Edmond de Rothschild Corporate Finance is to assist companies in choosing a partner.
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